Thursday, May 12, 2011

NFL Lockout: Screwing the Little Guys

As the NFL lockout enters it's third month, the Miami Dolphins announced pay cuts for team employees. These cuts target the team's operational staff, including some of the lowest-paid employees in the organization. The pay cuts vary depending on the salary of the employee. Employees making more than $75K will take a 20% pay cut, where employees making less than $50K will take a 10% cut. The pay cuts will end at the conclusion of the lockout. The Dolphins cited slumping season ticket sales (due to the lockout) as the reason for these cuts.

Other teams have instituted similar pay cuts and other cost-saving measures as well, including the Cardinals, BIlls, Packers, Charges, Raiders, Chiefs, Steelers, Bengals, and Rams. The Jets furloughed operational staff for two weeks and cut the salaries of the coaching staff. All league personnel at New York offices of the NFL had their pay slashed by 12% with a cut of 25% promised if the lockout extends into August. Commissioner Goodell reportedly slashed his own salary to $1.

I nearly lost it when I read about this nonsense. Let me get this straight. The owners decide to lockout the players, effectively deciding not to have a season, and the guys going to work everyday making peanuts (relatively) have to take a pay cut? The owners make a TV deal (one of the largest sources of NFL revenue) that provides guaranteed money and stop paying the players (one of their largest expenses), and the guys making the least have to take a pay cut? That's bullshit.

I recognize that sometimes workers need to share the pain when a business isn't do so hot. Market conditions may cause financial turmoil in an industry that results in the need for cuts to employee wages and benefits to ensure the continued survival of the business. I understand that. It's perfectly reasonable to reduce salary and benefits in those situations. Most people would rather take a pay cut than lose their jobs when their employer goes out of business. In this case, however, the NFL owners have decided to create this situation and the only threat to the league is this awful decision.

Here's a quick rundown of the numbers to illustrate how douchy cutting team employee wages is. The NFL generates about $9 billion in revenue a year. The owners keep about $1 billion off the top for operational expenses. The owners and players split the remaining revenue about 50/50. So, the owner's get about $4 billion more, for a total of $5 billion a year. The owners are guaranteed $4 billion in revenue from the current TV deal, which is about 80% of what they usually make. The owners aren't paying the players, so you don't need to worry abou that $4 billion, and they're not currently covering the cost of their medical care, which probably saves them tens of million of dollars (probably more). The point is that the salaries of these team employees should already be covered by the guaranteed TV money, but who knows since the teams refuse to open up their books.

Anyway, I think this is the most disgusting and deplorable development in this saga. While I think the players do deserve a deal similar to the previous CBA, I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for them considering the money that they have made. Non-playing team employees don't make anywhere near player money though. I bet most of their salaries go towards supporting their families, paying their mortgages, paying off student loans, and saving for their kids' education. My biggest problem with this is that these people have nothing to do with the labor dispute, but they have to suffer because the owners are intent on breaking the union. Okay, I get it, the players aren't bending over quick enough, so team personnel has to take it up the ass until then. Apparently, the owners are devoid of any sense of common decency, their greed seemingly knowing no bounds.

Assuming that the 2011 NFL season takes place, the NFL will presumably generate the same amount of revenue, maybe more, this season. In that event the owner will not loss any money. Will these team employees be reimbursed for those lost wages in that event? Probably not, because that will just be a little more money in the owners' pockets, and that's what this thing has been about from the start. I suppose I was okay with that when it was the millionaires v. billionaires, but now that the little guys are getting screwed, I think the NFL has stooped to a new low.


  1. I rather he make this budget work in this fashion then miss out on free agency. Plus if revenue will be as good or better as you wrote, he can just high those people back.

  2. Me think we related.